One of Rwanda’s most wanted genocide suspects, Fulgence Kayishema, has been apprehended in South Africa after evading capture for 22 years, according to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).
Kayishema is accused of masterminding the massacre of over 2,000 individuals during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, where ethnic Hutus targeted Tutsis and moderate Hutus who defended them. The genocide resulted in the deaths of more than 800,000 people within a span of three months.
The arrest took place in Paarl, a small town located in a wine-making region about 30 miles east of Cape Town. A joint operation involving the IRMCT’s fugitive tracking team and South African authorities led to Kayishema’s capture on Wednesday.
In 2001, Kayishema was indicted by the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, facing charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity. He had been on the run since then until his recent arrest.
The specific allegations against Kayishema involve his alleged role in organizing the mass killings of more than 2,000 ethnic Tutsi refugees, including men, women, and children, at a Catholic church during the genocide.
Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor of the IRMCT, expressed satisfaction with Kayishema’s arrest, stating that it ensures he will finally face justice for his alleged crimes.
The apprehension of such high-profile suspects contributes to the ongoing efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the atrocities committed during the Rwandan genocide.